Ken Blaiklock, in his critique of Learning Stories, writes that “Learning dispositions were defined by Carr as ‘situated learning strategies plus motivation-participation repertoires from which a learner recognises, selects, edits, responds to, searches for and constructs learning opportunities’ (p.21). This definition is open to many different interpretations. Carr (2001) suggests that teachers focus on how ‘five domains of disposition are translated into actions: taking an interest, being involved, persisting with difficulty, expressing a point of view or feeling, and taking responsibility.’ Each domain of disposition is described in general terms of children ‘being ready, being willing and being able’ (pp.24-25). It remains unclear as to what these dispositions are, whether they can be assessed, and how teachers are supposed to identify progress in these dispositions for individual children from birth to five years of age.” (p.7)
I think Blaiklock is right to connect this ongoing discussion around dispositional learning to the use of Learning Stories as an assessment tool – he highlights many flaws in their use. I think teachers need to develop the latter abilities, though, and if dispositions are (inherently and to the benefit of the developing child?) ill-defined that doesn’t remove them from being valid foci for assessment – not at all! …and I’m not quite sure what Blaicklock is implying in this regard… it’s an ongoing discussion!
Ken Blaiklock (2010) Assessment in New Zealand early childhood settings: A proposal to change from Learning Stories to Learning Notes. Early Education, 48(2), 5-10